Osaka: The Deliciousness

In Japan, Travel Guides
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I love food, Yes! good food is bliss, whether eating by yourself or with others. Every meal time should be celebrated. It’s a great fortune to have food and to able to eat, it’s a greater fortune to be open to different kinds of foods. And when you have to opportunity to travel and eat foods from different places, you enrich your taste buds, the sweet, the sour, the bitter of different nations, you can even get to understand a people and open up to them through their cuisine. I hated garlic and its smell, before going to China, after experiencing it, I now use garlic almost all the time. I didn’t understand spring onions before going to Japan, now it’s a must for my cooking. I didn’t understand cheese before going to Europe, I still don’t haha, but am getting there.  It’s amazing to see how other people make something out of the same rice you know, the same chicken, the same vegetables. that’s why I don’t understand when people travel to a new place and bring their own food or snacks, if you have the courage to go there, you might as well experience all that there is to the place, especially the food.

Osaka is also known in Japan as the nation’s kitchen. There are restaurants everywhere, like literally everywhere you turn. Malls dedicate two or more floors of the building just to eateries.I spent four weeks in Osaka, I spent the most of my money on food and I don’t regret it and I need to go back haha, because there is still a lot I didn’t get to taste. In this post I’ll be sharing a few dishes I had the fortune to experience, also sweets, soup, tea, drinks, snacks, all Japanese. While staying there, I tried as much as possible to stick to Japanese cuisine, even when I couldn’t resist going into subway, I ended up getting a komatsuna and sesame pound cake. It wasn’t sweet, like the cake I know kind of sweet, but now I know what it tastes like and am glad I tried.

Planning and Budgeting Japan is considered among one of the most expensive places for tourists, but in my experience, it wasn’t so expensive, with proper planning and budgeting, anyone can visit Osaka and try most of the delicacies.

Accommodation is the most important thing to settle when travelling anywhere. I stayed in a hostel provided by the university I was doing my elective in, they were kind enough to provide for me a cheap place.

As for tourist sites you must visit, remember that world heritage sites don’t get their names for nothing, if you aren’t sure of where to go, just look up the ones in your area. I won’t be writing about places here, that’s a story for another day. You should definitely know before arriving to a country which places you need to go to, especially for Japan, because for certain places, the tickets might be cheaper if you buy before coming into the country or you could get cheaper deals at the airport. You should have a plan for each day and know how much you are gonna spend. I visited Nara in my last week, for example, I had to limit how much I spent on food, cause I truly wanted to see all of Nara and I was running short.

Finally food!

After you’ve planned these things then you can see how much you have for food, and what you can afford to eat or not. On most days, when I ate three meals a day, I spent an average of 1700 yen, which is about 15 dollars, I literally mean breakfast, lunch and dinner. On other days, I just had some cereal or bread at home, and some days, if I could afford an expensive lunch, maybe about 1200 yen and I had a packed lunch, which cost only about 300 yen for dinner or some snack from the store such as onigiri, a rice ball. So, if you are a student like me, who loves Asia and would love to visit Japan in particular, fear not! It’s possible and you can have a great time while you are there.

Main Dishes

rice with fish and potato salad (A packed lunch from the supermarket)

rice with fish and potato salad (A packed lunch from the supermarket)

Gokoku-mai, coleslaw, miso soup with japanese style steak,shrimp tempura and potatoes

Gokoku-mai, coleslaw, miso soup with japanese style steak,shrimp tempura and potatoes

 

Ippudo ramen

Ippudo ramen

The packed lunch above, I paid about 450 yen for it, while the ippudo ramen cost me about 700yen, same as the lunch set on the left.

Also, if you’re worried about gaining weight, worry not. Most restaurants serve such small portions, for Japanese people I guess this is normal, so I could eat without a qualm. Also if you plan your days in such a way  that you can link up different tourist locations close to each other, then you can just walk around from location to location and save up on transport fare, this was applicable for me on my trip to the Kansai region of Japan, and the Osaka Prefecture where I stayed. So then, you can eat and exercise while sightseeing.

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The meal set seen above, is known as kaiseki ryouri.  I ate everything in the meal set, yes everything. The first picture on the left is known as mizutaki, the chicken was quite tasty. Just this meal had about three different types of tofu, and I didn’t like even one of them, they were just too soft for my liking.This was one of the most expensive foods I tried and fortunately I was sponsored by my friends. We had this at restaurant in Kyoto, just a few minutes from the Sanjusangendo,  a temple famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon. We were told that if you looked carefully, you could see the face of the person you most wanted to see among the statues. I didn’t see it, all the statues looked the same to me. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever inhaled so much incense in my entire life, from one place. It was a beautiful experience.Kyoto is a beautiful and colorful place, you should definitely visit.

Desserts

mochifu

mochifu

warabi-mochi

warabi-mochi

seen above are Japanese desserts, at least that’s what we were served in most restaurants. Mochi is Japanese rice cake, made of glutinous rice. Shall i say the consistency is like  gummy bears, Its really like nothing else I’ve tasted in my life. Not just mochi, I really couldn’t find proper sweets in Japan, its no wonder the people are rarely obese. Food is served in small portions, everyone drinks green tea, which has no calories and the sweets are rarely sweet, and that’s healthy. The closest thing to sweet for me, what I tried were Pocky, Kit kat japanese brands, if you dont try any other sweet, you should at least try the matcha kit kat and the sweets below. Also made of green tea, a friend gave them to me as a parting present and they were just pure goodness.

green tea sweets

green tea sweets

Drinks

Japanese green tea is really unique, I couldn’t stand it while I was in Japan, but I missed it after leaving. Everyone has to try it, cold, warm, you’ve got to try it. I also recommend trying Sake which is Japanese rice wine and Umeshu, this is a Japanese liqueur made from ume fruits.

Sake

Sake

not milk, not water, not alcohol, just a sweet strange drink. To be tried!

not milk, not water, not alcohol, just a sweet strange drink. To be tried!

Snacks

  • Taiyaki, is a Japanese fish shaped cake, the ones seen here have a filling of bean paste and custard, you can guess which is which. My only advice for this is to have it while its warm,I loved it the most that way. Taiyaki is seen below, in the middle.
  • Dango: little balls of mochi. I didn’t really like them
  • Fried sweet potatoes: the name speaks for itself, just pure comfort.
  • Japanese cheese cake. I love cheese cake, that’s American style cheesecake. I desperately wanted to try the japanese cheese cake. It was good, but more like egg cake, it was so fluffy and tender, I would go for American any day.
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Soul Foods

The Osaka soul foods are Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki. I preferred takoyaki with octopus, but okonomiyaki got the gold medal from me. Definitely one of the best foods Japan has. I loved every bit of it.

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I had this okonomiyaki, twice at the same store. A family owned small restaurant in the Abenoku ward of Osaka. It was pure bliss.

And below, you can see a few pictures of Yakisoba, some amazing restaurant at Tennoji, wasn’t alone of course, this made the meal even more delicious. Anyway, you should try okonomiyaki and if you like it, you would like yakisoba. We had tomato yakisoba and avocado yakisoba.

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Sushi, must be experienced in Japan. I wont put pictures of sushi, I think its popular enough, it doesnt matter what you know about sushi, when in Japan, you have to experience it afresh.

Others

Something else to try is Yakitori, roasted chicken can be had deliciously in so many different ways. It was a bit expensive, but worth it.

The last but not the least is kushikatsu. The symbol of Osaka is tsutenkaku. Somehow I managed to mix up the two words a lot while in Japan, now I know better. Tsutenkaku is a tower and a well known landmark of Osaka and kushikatsu is fooood! Its deep fried meat or vegetables and the way this is eaten is by dipping into some sauce. you dip one piece of kushikatsu once, just once!

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Japanese curry, you definitely have to try. Omurice was great too. Raw fish, half cooked eggs, I had to be assured so many times of safety. This was a peek into my experience of Osaka, especially with regards to food. It was great being there, living there for just four weeks, I realized why it is said that Osakans are ruined by spending on food. I wouldn’t blame them at all!!!

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